Oak Flats pool named to honour couples 40 years community service

A husband and wife’s 40 years of volunteer swimming coaching has been recognised by Shellharbour City Council, with the 50m Oak Flats pool being officially named the ‘Ted and Helen McKay Pool’.

Members of Oak Flats Swimming Club made a request to Council to name the pool after the couple in recognition of their significant service to the community.

Ted and Helen McKay began teaching learn to swim classes and swimming coaching sessions for the Oak Flats Swimming Club in 1968, three years after the pool opened.

While teaching their own children to swim, they saw the need to help others and started a learn to swim program which later turned into the Oak Flats Swimming Club.

Apart from teaching kids how to swim, both coaches encouraged young competitive swimmers to do their best and the results were evident, with success at state and national levels.

Ted and Helen found success with their swimmers in the 50m pool, with the full length allowing them to build their distance, endurance, fitness and confidence. Some of their elite swimmers went on to the Olympic Games and Australian Iron Man series.

Sadly, Ted passed away in 2008. However, Helen continued coaching at the club and achieved 50 years of coaching in October 2018.

Shellharbour Mayor Marianne Saliba said the couple’s dedication to the children and families of our city had been extraordinary.

“Helen and Ted have shaped the lives of many young sports men and women in Shellharbour City. Naming the pool after them is a fitting tribute their enormous contribution,” Cr Saliba said.

“Their commitment was evident from the outset. While Ted was working as a wharfie at Port Kembla he managed to be at the pool both mornings and afternoons, five days a week.

“In fact, any child who could not get transport to the pool would be picked by up Ted in his EH Holden station wagon.

“They are quite rightly held in very high esteem by the community and Council and I congratulate them and their family on this special occasion,” Cr Saliba said.

Media enquiries: Kelli Wells 0448 361 008.